I've just joined the forum (my first forum ever) and already I've found fascinating reading. I am currently baking in my gas oven with a bread stone, and awaiting arrival of a new 1.5 cubic-ft. convection oven that I plan on using as my primary bake stove, at least for now. Cooking outdoors with a Pompeii sounds like heaven.
Right now I'm facing some issues about the new convection oven. I have yet to see a baking stone that will fit it, and my efforts to find quarry tiles have been surprisingly unsuccessful. My trips to tile shops and Lowe's were met with very puzzled looks. Lowe's didn't even have fire bricks. I've found a local brick-manufacturing company that's been around forever, and plan to check them out this week. I keep asking for unglazed clay quarry tiles--I'm in North Carolina, so should I be asking for something else?
Also, if push came to shove, could I cut down my current baking stone to fit my new oven? My neighbor works with masonry and says his saw should do the job. Any problems there? The stone is from The Baker's Catalog. While we're at it, does anyone know how these stones are made? Could a local potter do it?
Finally, financial constraints mean I probably won't be able to start a Pompeii for some time ... however, my neighbor has lots of bricks and I've got an old-stye brick barbeque in my back-yard, complete with cast iron grate and chimney. Is this a candidate for a new life as a my back-yard woodfired stove? If not as a dome, perhaps as a barrel vault. The way I see it, I would have to build the oven over the fire, and the firepit could continue to use the existing chimney. Thanks for any and all suggestions.
Bryan in NC
Testing the new forum.
We're here. :-)
I would be interested in what other folks are doing with pizza stones in the ovens, but I finally settled on fire brick splits inside my GE electric oven. I found them at a local masonry supply. I broke so many pizza stones (I think I get them too wet creating steam in the oven), that I gave up a tried real bricks. I think it works pretty well. We have a double wall oven, so one of the ovens always has the bricks in it.
For an outside oven, it you have a source of free salvage bricks, you are much of the way to building a backyard brick oven. Just add labor. The blocks for the stand and the concrete for the hearth are cheap.
My view is that if you can afford it, it is worth it using better materials on your oven, but that if budget is an issue, and your choice is whether or not to have a brick oven, you should use the least expensive materials you can find, and you will be thrilled to have a real brick oven. A brick oven with salvage bricks will be a lot better than the hottest electric oven and the best pizza stone.
Bakng Stones, Quarry Tiles
Thanks James, for the info. I plan to pursue a backyard brick oven on the cheap, and have fortunately found a local brickmaker who manufactures fire bricks. I hope that between them and salvaged brick, I can convert the old brick grill in the backyard to an oven.
I had a devil of a time finding unglazed quarry tiles to use as a baking stone in my new countertop convection oven. Thanks to Dal tile, I finally located some and actually got them free as samples. Dal tile has made a customer for life. They work very well and my first loaves of bread crusted very nicely. (The pizza stone, by the way, is in our gas oven and is producting very nice thin-crust pizza. I've been using a recipe I saved from "Eating Well" Magazine--the dough also freezes very nicely. Just defrost, shape and bake).
BTW, the good folks at Baker's Catalog say they see no reason a baking stone couldn't be cut down to fit smaller ovens (provided you have a means of cuttng it--I may try my neighbor's masonry wet saw.) It would be much thicker than the quarry tiles, but not as thick as firebrick, and all of a piece.
As you pointed out about brick ovens, even an improvised and inexpensive baking stone is better than no stone and all.
I've broken three or so baking stones from Williams Sonoma, mostly from my own mis-handling outside the oven. They do however seem to work well in my Bosch electric convection. Cheap too! $29. -Philip
Tiles in convection oven
How large is your Bosch conevection oven? My quest for unglazed quarry tiles was prompted by delivery of my countertop Waring convection oven, for which I could not find an appropriately sized baking stone. The dal tiles I got are working very well, but I'd still like a stone. Does anyone know how these stones are built? I'm considering cutting the stone in my free-standing gas stove to fit my convection oven and then outfitting my gas stove with firebrick or quarry tiles, or perhaps both. These will have to do until I can get a wood-fired brick oven going. I have an idea for a basic design, but it will likely be smaller than many I read aout. How does one start with final heath dimensions (width and length) and then figure height of the vault and dimensions of the stove opening?
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